The Food and Drug Administration continues to add hand sanitizers to a list of products that should be avoided, with the list climbing to 196.
Many of the recalled products contain methanol or 1-propanol, which are very dangerous. Only ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol (also known as 2-propanol) are acceptable types of alcohol in hand sanitizer, according to the FDA.
The complete list can be found on the FDA’s site.
FDA test results also showed some hand sanitizers had much lower levels of active ingredient than listed on the label. The CDC recommends alcohol-based hand sanitizers have at least 60% ethyl alcohol (sometimes listed as “alcohol” on the label).
Other products were found with false or misleading claims on labels, including false claims that the brand prevents the spread of COVID-19 or protects you from viruses or bacteria for a certain period of time.
Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is used to make rocket fuel and antifreeze and should never be rubbed on your skin or swallowed. Swallowing or drinking hand sanitizers contaminated with methanol can cause serious health problems, including permanent blindness, and death, according to the FDA.
1-Propanol or 1-propyl alcohol is used to make industrial solvents and can also be toxic when swallowed. Swallowing or drinking a hand sanitizer with 1-propanol can result in decreased breathing and heart rate, among other serious symptoms, and can lead to death, the FDA says. Symptoms of exposure can include confusion, decreased consciousness and slowed pulse and breathing.
The FDA also says hand sanitizer should never be used on pets. If your pet gets hand sanitizer on their skin or accidentally ingests it (such as by chewing the bottle), the FDA says to contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control service immediately.
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